Nurse practitioners (NP) are essential in every medical team. Aside from working as a nurse, advanced studies qualify them to administer additional duties usually assigned to primary care doctors. To maintain their state licenses and national board certification, all NPs are required to complete a specified number of hours in continuing education periodically even after finishing nurse practitioners school.
For a nurse practitioner, continuing education could be pharmacology-related, while for others, the topic may have to be related to their medical specialty.
What You Need To Know About Continuing Education In Pharmacology For Nurse Practitioners
Each NP should check their state’s Board of Nursing to determine requirements for license renewals. For conditions in maintaining certification in their specialty, nursing practitioners should check with the certifying board.
Nursing practitioners are authorized to prescribe medication in varying degrees of independence, depending on the state NP practice authority:
- Full Practice
- Reduced Practice
- Restricted Practice
Under “full practice authority,” nursing practitioners can administer drugs and fluids without the need for a doctor’s supervision. Therefore, getting updated information in the uses and effects of drugs is very critical, whatever the NP’s level of practice.
What are the specific benefits of knowing more about pharmacology? Why is pharmacology important in the field of medicine?
To Recommend Treatments
The global pharmaceutical market is rapidly growing. According to studies done by The Business Research Company, the forecast is for the drug market to reach $1 trillion by 2022. Research is continuing to improve and create new drugs to fight disease.
Nurse practitioner continuing education will update them on the risk factors of new drugs. Having such knowledge will help them customize treatments for their patients.
To Avoid Prescription Drug Abuse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are increasing cases of people using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. This situation has resulted in more visits to the ER because of accidental overdose and more rehabilitation programs for drug addictions.
Usually, people receive prescribed drugs to reduce pain. However, the “relief” could result in the continuous use of drugs. Doing so alters the brain and affects a person’s self-control and decision-making.
A nurse practitioner, in their role as mentors and counselors to patients, can warn them about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.
To Protect Patients And The Hospital
Aside from preventing drug abuse, knowledge of the right drugs can alert NPs on possible medication errors.
A well-informed NP will check the following before administering drugs:
- Right drug – prescription, expiration date
- Right patient – possible side effects depending on the age and condition of the patient
- Proper dosage – concerning drug reference
- Right time – the frequency and double-checking last dosage
- Right route – whether the patient can receive medication from the advised route
Nurses are usually the last barrier between drugs and the patient. Knowledge about drug uses, doses, side effects, contraindications, and fatal drug interactions is vital.
A nurse is guilty of malpractice when administering the wrong drugs. Therefore, knowledge in pharmacology can protect an NP’s license.
To Enjoy Job Security
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the growth in nurse practitioners is a big help in providing primary care. Similarly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting a 28% growth in NPs by 2028.
The need for nurse practitioners is expected to rise because of the aging baby boomer population and the increasing number of people diagnosed with cancer and other serious diseases.
Continuing education in pharmacology is the next step in securing an NP license.
To Widen Career Opportunities
Aside from working in the hospital, there are plenty of jobs for nurse practitioners out there. Also nurse practitioners can open their own business and work independently, primarily if they have specialized in any of the following fields:
- Adult-gerontology (AGNP)
- Women’s Health (WHNP)
- Family nurse practitioner (FNP)
- Acute care NPs
- Neonatal NPs
- Pediatric NPs
- Psychiatric mental health (PMHNP)
All specializations will require nurse practitioner continuing education units.
With these five benefits, now is the time to take credits for continuing education. There are courses available online as well as onsite classes.